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Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?

Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?

Best Employment Discrimination Attorney Answer: What can I do about sexual harassment at work? What are the rights of LGBT at work? How can I stop my boss from bullying me? What are examples of harassment? What is the definition of harassment in the workplace? Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?

“Do as I say, not as I do.” Most everyone has probably heard this familiar phrase at least once or twice in their life. Instead of practicing what they preach, some adults choose to model negative behavior in front of children. They may think that their bad actions are easily erasable in their children’s minds by repeating over and over again, “Do as I say, not as a I do.” The thing is, children do not always forget so easily. In fact, they may remember those moments for the rest of their lives.

This is particularly true when teaching children and young adults about race/color, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability discrimination. If you teach the next generation that it is okay to make fun of Jews; joke about Hispanics; or call Black people racially derogatory names, guess what they will do when they grow up? If you let young men see you treating women with disrespect and sexually harassing women, they will grow up to be future sexually harassing bosses. Anyone who works with children regularly, including parents, teachers, coaches, youth pastors, etc. likely has an enormous impact on the children they are around. It’s normal for children to look up to adults who are in positions of authority. Kids gravitate towards strong adult leaders. They view these individuals as heroes and role models.

Adults may not be aware of how susceptible children can be. In reality, children are constantly watching adults and modeling their behaviors. While this can mean that children can pick up on positive behaviors, it can also mean that they may start modeling negative behaviors. The scariest part is that the same children who learn bad behavior early on from watching adults, grow up to replicate these learned negative behaviors as adults. These children may one day grow up to be a boss, manager, supervisor or even the owner of the company you work at.

With this in mind, our employment law attorneys came across two recent news articles that demonstrate the exact type of negative behavior that we do not want our children modeling.

Let’s start with Peter Lucido, a Michigan State Senator, who admittedly made inappropriate comments to a young, female reporter in front a group of high school boys. (See Michigan legislator tells female reporter that HS boys ‘could have a lot of fun’ with her). Allison Donahue, a 22-year-old reporter from the Michigan Advance, was covering a story about Lucido, who was scheduled to speak to high schoolers from De La Salle Collegiate High School. When the female reporter attempted to interview him, the politician asked her if she had ever heard of the school. After discovering that she was somewhat unfamiliar with the school, he informed her that the school was an all-boys Catholic high school. Next, he stated “You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.” What the hell?

Lucido’s comment was wildly inappropriate, unprofessional, and likely constituted illegal sexual harassment. Illegal sexual harassment can be in the form of either quid pro quo sexual harassment or hostile work environment. (See I’m Being Sexually Harassed By My Boss. Can I Sue?; What Is A Sexually Hostile Work Environment?; Do I Have A Hostile Work Environment Claim Against My Job?; and My Boss Keeps Making Sexual Comments).

The worst part is that Lucido chose to say the comment in front of a group of young and very impressionable high school boys. As soon as he made the comment, the boys started laughing. Understandably, Donahue felt so embarrassed that she immediately walked away. As could be expected, she felt completely “objectified and humiliated.” These behaviors are what makes people feel comfortable when they discriminate against others.

Instead of taking responsibility for his actions (which may have helped redeem himself slightly), Lucido argued that the comments were not sexual in nature, and did not discriminate against anyone. But, it’s hard to imagine what else he could have meant by them. Okay, Petey, what were you suggesting – that they would have a fun time playing checkers or discussing poetry? These are the type of wink-wink excuses that our employment discrimination lawyers often have to deal with in sexual harassment cases.

Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?

Though Lucido eventually apologized for making the comments, it did not erase the fact that a high-level political figure felt that it was appropriate to sexualize a woman in front of a group of teenage boys. It did not erase how he made a woman feel when she was just trying to do her job. In acting in this fashion, Lucido showed the teenage boys that it was acceptable for grown men to disrespect women in a sexual fashion, that working women were just there to have fun with. The boys laughed, because he had encouraged this inappropriate behavior.

Later on, a few Michigan state legislators spoke out, stating “Sexual harassment has no place in the Michigan Senate.” What they probably should have said was “Sexual harassment has no place in our schools. Sexual harassment has no place in our workplaces. Sexual harassment has no place in this world.” It’s important to realize behaviors that discriminate are taught young and that these boys may eventually become bosses, and powerful leaders. The last thing we want is to teach them that it’s okay to harass and discriminate against female professionals. 

Having clicked back to the main page, I hoped to find a more uplifting, feel good news story. Yeah, well, that was not going to happen. The next news article link that caught my eye was Kayla Kenney had a rainbow 15th birthday cake. (See Kentucky girl poses with rainbow birthday cake, gets expelled from Christian school). Her mom, like any proud mother, took a picture of her daughter wearing a matching rainbow shirt and smiling next to the cake. To many, the picture probably seemed entirely innocent, and for Kenney, it was. Yet, it was not viewed that way by her school. After seeing the picture of the cake on social media, the private Christian school expelled her. In the schools’ opinion, the picture “demonstrated a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.” In other words, the school expelled Kenney because they thought the rainbow was a symbol of gay pride. What? So, is taking a picture with Lucky Charms (they’re magically delicious) box or posting a picture of Rainbow Dash (of My Little Pony Fame) now a subvert anti-Christian message? Or is it a false-flag reaction meant to discriminate against students?

Kenney’s mother explained that her daughter was not gay and that was not the message they were portraying. However, it really does not matter whether or not her daughter was gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or any other one of the LGBTQ+ categories. The school’s reaction was unacceptable. For a school to expel a student, based on a belief that the student was a part of the gay community is horrible, just horrible. Accordingly, sex is a protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Ohio Revised Code 4112.02.  The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments to decide whether sexual orientation and transgendered status is protected under Title VII. Our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about our position on this issue many times over. (See I Was Fired Today Because of My Sexual Orientation!; Can I Be Fired Because I’m Gay Or Lesbian? Can My Church Refuse To Hire Gay Cooks?Can My Employer Openly Harass Me Because I’m Gay?; What Are Cuyahoga’s New LGBTQ Discrimination Laws?; and What Can I Do If I Am Being Harassed at Work Because I’m Transgendered? I Need The Best LGBT/LGBTQ Lawyer In Ohio!).

The school did not stop their attempts to discriminate there. They also stated, “We made it clear that any further promotion, celebration, or any other actions and attitudes counter to Whitefield’s philosophy will not be tolerated.” Can you believe that? Expelling a child for taking a picture with a rainbow cake on her birthday seems extreme and cold-hearted. What kind message does this send to our children? Of course, some religions do not believe in gay rights. Teaching children that they can remove someone who is different is a dangerous lesson to teach. Again, those are same children who may become our bosses one day. As Macklemore & Ryan Lewis wrote and produced in Same Love:

The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition
Playing God, aw nah, here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five hundred years ago
I don’t know

*   *   *

When I was at church, they taught me something else

If you preach hate at the service, those words aren’t anointed

That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned

When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless

Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen

I might not be the same, but that’s not important

No freedom ‘til we’re equal, damn right I support it

Will Tomorrow’s Bosses Discriminate?

If you haven’t watched the Same Love video, you should. It is a great example of what a good role model looks like.

These two terrifying examples help demonstrate why it is so important to talk to children about the different ways people discriminate. Experts who have weighed in on the issue of whether or not to have serious conversations with our children about discrimination indicate that avoiding these talks may be quite dangerous. We should want children to see differences in skin color, national origin gender and sexual orientation as positive differences, not as grounds to divide us. (See Talking to kids about discrimination).

Our discrimination lawyers cannot be stressed enough how important it is to talk to our children about discrimination and the value of diversity. And, it’s just as crucial to teach our children the meaning of empathy. Empathy refers to the ability to understand or to be sensitive to the experiences of someone. In the examples above, empathy on the part of the politician and the school was seriously lacking. With empathy, children can become better leaders and more effective bosses. (See Why teaching children empathy is more important than ever). Discrimination in the workplace is a huge problem. If we ever want to have a chance a fixing this problem, then we have to instill in our children positive behaviors.

Our employment law attorneys are experts at spotting all types of actions that discriminate, including sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination. We work tirelessly to protect workers and to make sure that the “bad bosses” out there adhere to anti-discrimination statutes like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Throughout the years, we have dealt with our share of “bad bosses” who think it’s acceptable to discriminate in the workplace. What’s most concerning to our employment law attorneys is that a lot of bosses do not even realize that their practices are illegal. It’s imperative that we teach our future bosses from an early age what employment discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation really is and why it’s never acceptable to discriminate.

Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a form of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have was wrongfully fired or terminated today;” or “I have been discriminated against because I am …” gay, a lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer; or even think that you might need an employment law lawyer that works with LGBTQ employees, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call our Cleveland attorneys at (216) 291-4744. Call our Cincinnati attorneys at (513) 818-3688. Call our Columbus attorneys at (614) 335-4685. Call our Call our Toledo attorneys at (419) 960-5926.  Your employment rights are constantly changing and the best way to find out if you can sue your boss, manager, supervisor or employer for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination is to call The Spitz Law Firm and talk to its attorneys, who are experienced and dedicated to protecting the rights of employees just like you.


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